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Iconic Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre to make way for integrated development amid delays

The iconic Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, established in 1976, is set for demolition in 2024 to pave the way for a new integrated development. This redevelopment initiative, however, faces delays, pushing the project’s completion to late 2029.

Amidst these changes, hawkers are confronting significant rent hikes at the interim location, which threatens the financial sustainability of their businesses.



The iconic Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre is slated for demolition in 2024, giving way to an ambitious integrated development poised to reshape the community landscape.

This move, part of Singapore’s urban renewal strategy, is not without its complexities, as a spokesperson for the People’s Association (PA) disclosed to Channel NewsAsia (CNA) on 9 November.

The transition period has been pushed to the second half of 2024, with the completion of the new integrated development now expected in the second half of 2029, amidst challenges such as site conditions and technical complexities.

A gathering of hawkers on 13 March at the Bukit Timah Community Club unveiled the delay in the completion of the interim market and hawker centre.

“The additional time will be used to finalize the design and secure funding,” stated the PA spokesperson, who further assured that, “All existing stallholders at the Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre will have the option of taking up a stall at the new development.”

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) had envisioned in its Master Plan 2019 a one-stop integrated facility near Beauty World MRT station, featuring a community club, a new market, and a hawker centre.

“It will also feature a range of new amenities such as an indoor sports hall, community library, and elderly facility to enhance livability,” the plan stated.

Overseen by the PA, the new development spans approximately 29,000 sq m and includes five storeys plus two basement levels for parking.

The agency’s commitment to structural safety was evidenced in October plans seeking accredited checkers.

The promise of a similar number of market and hawker stalls aligns with the goal of preserving the community’s culinary heritage, as the current market which was established in 1976 is home to beloved stalls like Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon and He Zhong Carrot Cake.

“The market last underwent a major upgrade around two decades ago, under the Government’s Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme,” recalled a PA spokesperson, highlighting the necessity of the redevelopment.

The National Environment Agency, which oversees the markets and hawker centres, has provided stallholders with advance notice to prepare for the upcoming changes. “This advance notice is crucial for our hawkers to make informed decisions about their future,” they said.

Mr Loh Chao Kiat, the chairman of the Interim Hawker Centre and Market Project Committee, shared with The Straits Times, “We had been given until mid-2022 to decide on moving to the interim space.”

Mr Loh, who has sold soya bean products in the market for eight years, expressed stallholders’ concerns: “The delay could affect the financial viability of the interim market for its operator.”

“The build-to-lease model for the interim facility means that any delay in moving could adversely affect the operator’s financial situation,” Mr Loh explained.

Stallholders are apprehensive about the higher rents at the interim market, which were confirmed by discussions with the Bukit Timah Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) in March.

A local fishmonger, Mr Cheong, shared his predicament with ST. Currently paying around $300 for his stall, Mr Cheong is facing a significant increase in overheads, with the interim location demanding nearly triple that amount in rent.

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Building and construction costs paid by government? Rental collections goes to who? To government or to PA and fatten their already generous yearly allocation?